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Penguins vs. Red Wings Recap: Uninterested Pens slack off, lose

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Playing very poorly, the Penguins barely show up and lose a game to the hapless Detroit Red Wings.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Lineups

The Penguins welcome back Zach Aston-Reese after an injury absence, he’s back in favor of Dominik Simon (healthy scratch).

1st period

First shift of the game, first goal of the game. Dylan Larkin is in the Pittsburgh goal but makes a blind pass back which goes right to the stick of Jake Guentzel. Guentzel quickly takes off up the ice with the puck and finds himself on a 2-on-1 with Sidney Crosby. Jake the Snake labels a great cross-ice pass for Crosby who makes no mistake one-timing it by Jimmy Howard for his 27th of the year just 38 seconds into the contest.

The teams trade minor penalties a few minutes apart but no goals are scored...Until the Red Wings setup shop in the Pens zone and about 4 Pittsburgh players are totally stationary (uh oh) and that’s bad because Nicklas Kronwall can skate into the slot without resistance, take a passs from Darren Helm and hammer it by Matt Murray to tie the game at 1.

Shots end up 10-6 for Detroit in the first period. Corsi events at 5v5 are actually 15-12 Pens (with 5v5 shots 8-5 Red Wings). Readjust those sights, boys! The Red Wings were willing to pay the price and blocked 8 Pens shot attempts in the first.

2nd period

Crosby almost scored on the very first shift again but is foiled by a nice defensive play by Joe Hicketts who is in just his 2nd NHL game.

Crosby then sneaks a shot between Howard and the post...Tough to tell if it’s all the way in but after a long review the call on the ice (no goal) stands since there was no good evidence to over-turn it. Which is fine and the right call, but I’m pretty sure that puck quickly got deep enough to be a goal.

Jamie Oleksiak takes a high-sticking penalty, and the Detroit power play goes to work. Eventually their puck movement pulls all the Pittsburgh PKers to the left of Matt Murray which is a problem when Martin Frk makes a nice cross-ice pass to Frans Nielsen who powers it in the net.

Next shift out, Nick Jensen winds up a slap shot and Brian Dumoulin drifts backwards to let Murray see it. Unfortunately Luke Glendening drifts up into the play to deflect the shot right at Murray and it slides under him. Poor defending by Dumoulin there and in 41 seconds the game has gone from tied 1-1 to Detroit up 3-1.

Shots in the period, for the second period in a row are 10-6 Detroit, 20-12 overall in the game. Really disappointing first 40 minutes for the Pens.

3rd period

The Pens get an early period power play and a great chance to get back in the game but...They fizzle and do very little with it.

Pittsburgh can’t seem to do anything right or have anything go their way. Larkin from the corner with a nice pass out to Darren Helm who fires quickly and it goes in. Why not. 4-1 Detroit.

The Pens pull their goalie with 3:40 remaining down 3, because again why not and Kris Letang tees up a slapper from way back and it slides on in. 4-2 Pens with some time left (3:16)

But that’s as far as it gets, the Pens putz around for a bit but give up an ENG. 5-2 Detroit for the final.

Some thoughts

  • Immediately after he scored, I thought that Crosby scoring 30 seconds into the game would be the best or worst thing that could have happened for Pittsburgh. How the worst? Well Detroit had 10 of the next 13 shots in the game. Seemed like the Pens let up quite a bit after getting up to the early lead.
  • To make matters worse of all, Derick Brassard wasn’t seen sometime mid-way through the 2nd period. Remains to be seen what the issue is with him, hopefully no major injury that will linger on.
  • Game really got away from them in those 41 seconds in the 2nd period. First yet another PPG allowed, then a bad decision by Dumoulin to back away from an opponent for an incoming shot.
  • Frustratingly enough, the Pens just didn’t look sharp or interested in playing hard in this game. And as is becoming a season-trend they are not very good on the road. If they keep losing, they’re bound to not have home ice in the playoffs so that’s an issue.
  • The Red Wings played last night. The Red Wings have given up 4+ goals in 7 of their last 8 games coming into tonight. The Pens forwards had just 7 shots on goal with 11:53 remaining in the game. Just a pathetic way to go out.

Well the Pens didn’t much care about this one, so I would advise the same and that’s about all I’m going to write about this game. Terrible outing and the players really should have to reimburse Lemieux and Burkle for the cost of the fuel to fly them out to Detroit to do basically nothing. Maybe just maybe they’ll wake up and be ready to go for an important game Thursday in New Jersey.